The night before yesterday, I suddenly realized that my passport is due to expire next February, which would mean I can’t use the passport for any overseas travel (I am told there has to be at least 6 months balance in the validity) in the near future. And so, I decided to brave it and attempt to get my passport renewed in the time between dropping my girl off at school and scooting off to start the morning rounds. (That would be between 7 am to 8.30 am).
Pretty ambitious really.
I remember the last time I renewed my passport in Seremban back in 2006; I had to wake up at 5 am in the morning, drive to the Wisma Persekutuan in town, reaching at around 5.30 am and by then there was already a queue outside the yet-to-be-opened door of the Immigration Department that was 10-12 people long! Once I got a queue number at 8 am when the door opened, I had to sit and wait almost half a day for the processing to be done. After that it would be another 2 weeks or so before I could get my hands on the travel document.
Things have obviously changed for the better since then. When I got to the place at 7.15 am, I found a parking spot immediately (previously it would have been a nightmare looking for a spot at that time of the day) and I was pleasantly surprised to see the office has already opened its doors, allowing patrons (I was the first, actually) to sit inside and wait.
The queue counter opened 30 minutes before 8 am and I got my application form. Unfortunately, since I did not have any passport size photos with me plus I did not bring a photostatted copy of my IC, I could not get a queue number.
And so the wait began.
It was 8.05 am before the photostatting shop downstairs opened. I got my IC photocopied. By the time I got back to the immigration department, the place was already filling up with people (who obviously came better prepared than me)
It was 8.10 am before the instant photo booth opened and then the owner announced that he needed to service the machine before any photos could be taken. It took him 20 minutes to get the thing working. I was the first of 10 people in line to be photographed. The first one came out awful (I looked like I just landed from Jupiter – with a sickly green hue on my face).
The second attempt yielded another awful picture – like I was an alien from Mars suffering from a combination of Grave’s disease and Cushing’s. But I didn’t care anymore. (I told myself: I’m not ugly, I’m probably not photogenic, that’s all)
With the awful photo in hand (cost me RM 8 for 2 horrible representations of me), I went to get a number and the rest of the process was done in less than 5 minutes! I must say the staff at the Immigration department were all super friendly. I managed to start my rounds at 9.30 am. Phew!
The best part was, I was told my passport would be ready in 2 hours!
And so, at lunch break, I grabbed a quick bite, quickly drove over to the same place and miraculously, I found empty parking lots again. I got my passport with zero-hassle. It was wonderful!
On the way down, I decided to try my luck and attempt to get my IC replaced (as the address has changed – I don’t want to vote in the last place I voted in the next general election, because it was a choice between the Moon and the Scale!).
Here I met with even better service from the friendly staff there. I got my number, filled up my form, presented my form and IC, paid the RM 10 fee, and got my photo and thumb prints taken; all in 10 minutes!
I got back to the hospital by 2.10 pm!
So, I would like to say ‘Syabas’ to the Negeri Sembilan Immigration department (but ugh! guys, would you please consider getting your own photostatting machine and camera to speed things up) and the Negeri Sembilan Registration Department! Kudos to you guys! I am impressed.